First Edition Cycling News, October 24, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Italian riders want life bans
The Italian rider's association, the AACPI, appealed to the president of the sport's governing body to punish dopers with life bans on Thursday. In a letter to International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid, the AACPI leaders Amedeo Colombo and Gianni Bugno called for kicking dopers out of the sport unless they cooperate with authorities as a way to help cycling regain its credibility.
Speaking for its membership of over 250 Italian professionals, the letter was a response to McQuaid's announcement that the UCI will introduce a maximum doping sanction of four years in 2009. McQuaid indicated in that statement that he would like to introduce lifetime bans for a first-time offense of willful cheating, but could not as it was not part of the World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) rules.
The AACPI letter called attention to recent doping cases involving the new blood boosting agent Mircera by three Italians and two Germans, and demanded action.
"The positive tests of [Riccardo] Riccò, [Emanuelle] Sella, [Leonardo] Piepoli, [Stefan] Schumacher, and [Bernard] Kohl are damaging, even more so because they are champion cyclists," the letter read. "Their conduct fuels the fires of those who unjustly maintain that the only way to win cycling races nowadays is by means of doping.
"This is why the UCI needs to act to eradicate every possible illegal temptation from the movement, and thereby send out the message that anybody who wilfully cheats is out of the game for good."
The letter also called for leniency for those who cooperate with the authorities as well as punishment for the "pushers and the doping scientists".
McQuaid clarifies on re-testing samples
By Shane Stokes
UCI president Pat McQuaid drew a storm of criticism earlier this week when he seemed to indicate that he was against re-testing rider's doping control samples with newly developed tests. Cyclingnews sought clarification from McQuaid, who stated that the UCI does not oppose retesting if the circumstances are right.
"What I was asked is if the UCI are now going to test all of the samples of the Vuelta, all of the samples of the Giro, and all the samples of the 2007 Tour de France, because the AFLD retroactively tested samples from this year and found CERA there?" he said. "My answer was no to that.
"In principle, the UCI supports the idea of retroactive testing, and we always have done that. But it has got to be based on good information, either on suspicion in terms of [sudden] excellent performances, on information that would for example come from the biological passport, or information that will come from people in the field in relation to a particular individual. Then we would both target that individual, and also we would do some retroactive testing of samples which we might have."
McQuaid said that such retesting would require samples to be in good condition, and also to provide for a 'B' sample. He said that any testing undertaken for research purposes was off limits, due to the different handling involved. "If the sample was taken for research purposes, then you cannot test because the chain of custody and the protocol is completely different for the two types of samples. Therefore you can't use that to look into an anti-doping rule violation. All of this is quite complicated, and it is not something that you can just decide to take a blanket decision on."
Further explaining his previous comments, he stated that it would be counterproductive to retest the samples from races each time a new product comes on the market. "The reason I said it would make a mockery of the sport is that if a new product comes on the market, and because of that you decide to do all the tests you did last year and the year before. If you find some positives you are suddenly going back to the organiser and telling them that they better re-jig their podium.
"At some point in time you have got to take a pragmatic decision. That is why the UCI's view is that we want to look forward, we want to progress. The scientists that are working on the biological passport tell me that this is the way forward and this will greatly assist us in the fight against doping. That is more important than retesting all of the samples of last year's Tour de France for a product which, to the best of my knowledge and going by all the information we have on the field, wasn't even available last year."
Many will however argue that the samples from this year's Giro d'Italia should be re-examined for CERA. Two of the strongest riders in the race, Riccardo Riccò and Emanuele Sella, both subsequently tested positive for the substance and there is a strong suspicion that they – and quite possibly others - may have used it in the Italian Tour.
Ivan Basso: Focusing on the bike
Italy's Ivan Basso returns to the professional peloton after serving a 16-month ban for his relations with Operación Puerto's Eufemiano Fuentes. Can this quiet yet determined rider overcome his critics, his shame and one certain competitor to achieve his goal of winning the 2009 Giro d'Italia? Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews finds out.
Ivan Basso emerged as his country's best hope to win the Tour de France following the death of Marco Pantani in 2004. The soft spoken rider from Varese had his first significant win in the U23 World Championships in Valkenburg in the same year that Pantani won the Tour in 1998. However, like his ill-fated compatriot, Basso rose to the heights of the sport before crashing down in doping controversy. Unlike Pantani, he's survived the "guilt and embarrassment" of being caught up in Operación Puerto and is now seeking redemption in a new career with Team Liquigas. He will ride his first race with his new team in Sunday's Japan Cup.
Team Liquigas signed Basso in April of this year and is allowing him to race at the first moment possible following a suspension for doping. He will line up at the Japan Cup – one of the last major races of the year – only two days after the end of his suspension. After missing nearly two full seasons of racing, he is looking forward to getting back into competition and is hoping for a positive reception in Japan.
"My only race there was the Tour of Japan when I was young – as an under 23 rider with the national team – but I have never raced the Japan Cup," he said to Cyclingnews. "The Japanese people are very friendly with me and I am sure we will have a great week there, especially the day of the race. I expect there will be a lot of fans there."
Basso will follow the Japan Cup with a short break and then return to hard training in preparation for his 2009 mission – the Giro d'Italia. It will have been three years since he last won the Giro and he has been out of competition most of that time.
Read the full interview here.
UCI upbeat about relations with ASO
By Shane Stokes
UCI president Pat McQuaid is pleased with his organisation's improved relationship with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation, he said Thursday after attending the Tour launch in Paris.
McQuaid appeared at the function after being left off the invitation list last year when the UCI was at war with the ASO over the ProTour. The situation has changed drastically in recent weeks, after ASO's parent company EPA helped facilitate a thaw in relations.
"Things are excellent," McQuaid told Cyclingnews after the launch. "There is a charm offensive on both sides. We are very happy and very content with the way we are communicating with them, and they likewise feel the same about the way they are communicating with us."
"We had a meeting in Paris on Monday. I met with Jean Etienne [Amaury], the new president of ASO, and one of the directors of the EPA. We had a discussion about various elements such as next year's calendar and they also explained their objectives with the Tour presentation. The meeting was very convivial."
The battle between the UCI and ASO petered out after conciliatory talks were held this summer between the governing body and the EPA. Following those talks Patrice Clerc was replaced by Amaury as the president of ASO, while UCI vice president Hein Verbruggen resigned from his post. Relations are clearly far better than earlier this year and many are hoping that the sport will move forward from what was a tough time.
Having seen the Tour outline, McQuaid felt that it had the makings of a great race. "The route is interesting," he stated. "There is no doubt that it does suit climbers, I think, and as such it could therefore be declared quite a difficult Tour de France.
"In addition, there is no prologue, but rather a fifteen kilometre time trial which would mean that there will be reasonable gaps right from the beginning. That would give good time trialists an early advantage. Then there is a team time trial a couple of days later and that too would suit some riders.
"There are some good mountain stages, including Mont Ventoux on the second last day. Because of that, the [final overall] result won't be known until right before they arrive back in Paris…that'll keep the race interesting."
Cervélo TestTeam signs five
The Cervélo TestTeam announced Thursday the signing of five riders. Already common knowledge was the acquisition of Simon Gerrans from Crédit Agricole and Iñigio Cuesta from CSC Saxo Bank, and newly announced this week are signings for Martin Reimer (LKT Team Brandenburg), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Télécom) and Gabriel Rasch (Crédit Agricole).
21-year-old Martin Reimer is one of the major young talents in Germany, and holds the German U23-national road race title.
Xavier Florencio has been a pro since 2001, and is best know for winning the 2006 Clasica San Sebastian. The Norwegian Rasch, 32, had his biggest success to date with an overall victory in the 2007 Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour.
UCI Track World Cup kicks off in Manchester
The 2008-2009 season of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup will launch nearly a month earlier than in previous years thanks to an expanded schedule which brings the number of rounds up to five for the first time. The Manchester Velodrome, hosts to the 2008 World Championships, will offer the sport's best a chance to take advantage of its world record-ready boards October 31 through November 2.
The event will also include a special Japanese Keirin Association invitational Keirin race. Four British riders, Jason Kenny, Ross Edgar, Craig Maclean and Matthew Crampton, will be among those battling some of Japan's leading specialists for the top spot and big prizes on the final night of the World Cup.
Tickets have sold out but as the proud host of this event, British Cycling Events is pleased to offer hospitality packages for guests to enjoy the racing from the track centre. Hospitality packages are available for the evening of Friday and Saturday, running from 31 October to the 1 November.
For more information see www.trackworldcup.co.uk
Jartazi team continues with Revor, Vervecken and VDB?
The Belgian Mitsubishi-Jartazi team will continue through 2009 with a new co-title sponsor to replace the car company, and three-time cyclo-cross World Champion Erwin Vervecken in its midst as of January 1. Jartazi, a sportswear manufacturer will join with cyclo-cross sponsor Revor, a mattress maker to field both road and cyclo-cross teams in the new year.
The team will lose Patrick Stallaert, the manager of Jartazi, who no longer wanted the responsibility of running a cycling team. He will hand over the reigns to Revor team manager Jeroen Vanderspinnen. Vanderspinnen and directors Andre Tummeleer and Wim De Wolf are busy working to fill in the roster, and are holding the door open for the possible return of Frank Vandenbroucke.
"The budget of the team is half million [euros], and we want to build a balanced team," Stallaert told Belga. "The aim is two weeks to have 16 names." He indicated the team is in negotiations with Wouter Van Mechelen and Jan Kuyckx (both of Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner).
He did not rule out the possibility that Vandenbroucke would have a place on the team, but said that it was up to the rider to show he is ready.
"I still maintain good contacts with Frank," Stallaert said. "We have already agreed that he will build up his fitness further. After a few months we will see whether he is ready.
"If Frank thinks he is ready, he will have to undergo medical tests. The door is always open for VDB with me. I can not say a bad word about him."
England to Amore e Vita
By Susan Westemeyer
Richard England will ride for Team Amore e Vita – McDonald's in 2009. The 27-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, rode for the US-based Bissell Pro Cycling Team this year and won the fifth stage of the Tour de Georgia. "I'm very happy and excited to have him in our team," Amore e Vita manager Cristian Fanini told Cyclingnews. "I think he's a really good rider – very strong and ready to make a step forward in his career and try to find his dimension here in Europe.
"I noticed him at the Tour of Georgia. He is the kind of rider I want for my team: aggressive, and brave," Fanini continued. The Australian will not only ride in European races for the first time, but also in races in the USA, with the Italian Continental team hoping for an invitation to the Tour of Georgia.
Farrar Sr. struck by car
The father of Garmin-Chipotle sprinter Tyler Farrar was critically injured in a collision with a driver on Wednesday morning. Ed Farrar, an orthopedic surgeon and bicycling enthusiast, was riding his bike in Wenatchee, Washington State, when a driver crossed the centre line and struck him. He underwent surgery at the Central Washington Hospital for "a serious spine injury," according to the Wenatchee World.
Reports said the driver, 56-year-old security guard Andrew Sandoval, was driving his patrol vehicle when he "dropped his clipboard down to the floorboard" and took his eyes off the road before crossing into the oncoming lane where Farrar was riding.
Farrar's condition was upgraded Thursday afternoon from critical to serious, according to the publication.
The Cyclingnews staff extends its wishes to Mr. Farrar for a speedy recovery.
Continuing coverage of the 2008 Interbike and London Cycle Shows
Today's coverage of the 2008 Interbike Expo continues with a look at Giant's 2009 mountain bike line plus new wheels from Fulcrum, updated Avid brakes just in time for 'cross season, aero goodies from Syntace and a wealth of accessories from Blackburn and others.
Moreover, UK correspondent Ben Atkins pays a visit to the recent London Cycle Show for a look at the best and brightest from some of Great Britain's top builders.
For all the show coverage, start here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)